Beastly — Alex Flinn
“A beautiful thing is precious, no matter the price. Those who do not know how to see the precious things in life will never be happy.”
Situated in a contemporary backdrop—New York City, to be exact—Beastly by Alex Flinn is the re-telling of the classic fairytale “Beauty and the Beast.” Our male protagonist, Kyle Kingsbury, is the son of a famous news anchor—a busy man, who indulges his son through material things to compensate for his inconsistencies as a father. Appearances matter to him the most, and eventually, mattered to Kyle as well. Kyle has looks to die for, fame, and the perfect girlfriend—a conceited guy who makes a pedestal of himself and despises “ugly” people. At a school dance, he makes an indecent move that made Kendra, who turned out to be a witch, utterly humiliated. As a comeuppance, the former Mr. Perfect Guy became a beast—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore of his body—and only a true love’s kiss will reverse the curse.
Kyle’s father sought for medical attention, but no one and nothing could treat him. His father then decided to dispatch him into another house and appointed a blind tutor and a housemaid for him—as he couldn’t afford to ruin his image by having a son like that. Later, a man breaks in into the house and gets caught; he exchanges his daughter for his freedom, and Kyle accepts the deal as he was desperate to find his “true love.” He confined the girl within the house, and thus happened to be our female protagonist—Linda—a plain-looking, good-hearted, bookish girl.
Personally, I think the story was adorable, charming—which, I suppose, was really meant for young readers. I swear, my younger sister read this, like, 10 times; and if you ask her whether it’s good or not, she’ll definitely say “yes” a hundred times. I liked the fact that it was written through the beast’s perspective—in that way, I have known him better, sympathized with him, witnessed his growth as a person, and captured his soft side that wasn’t there before. However, his attachment to Linda, at first, seemed a bit forced—but as the story goes on, you’ll see that the affection becomes real—not only on the beast’s side but on Linda’s as well. There were sappy moments, yes, and the ending was a bit fleeting. The twists weren’t that great but okay. Other than that—just great. The morale of the story was what I liked best: that beauty isn’t defined by the outward appearance but on the inside. A bit clichéd but is still what people these days can’t quite comprehend. Like what Linda said, “People make such a big deal about looks, but after a while, when you know someone, you don´t even notice anymore…” And by the way, the chat thingy was adorable too—the fact that there were others like him who had the same fate and needed the same solution—finding true love and the like.
Nevertheless, it’s an easy read, light and fun—an incredible mishmash of an old classic and a contemporary tale.